As web marketers, we're constantly pushing the need to generate valuable content as a means to generate leads. While clients technically "get it", they are still reluctant when it comes to actually doing it. They may update their contact page when someone new gets hired or the history page when another year passes by, but the creation of value added, lead-generating content is simply not an area of ongoing focus. This is despite the fact that 9 out of 10 clients are looking to increase leads/sales/profits online.
Would You Go Fishing Without Bait?
If you know any fisherperson that has been fishing for quite a while, they almost all have a favorite bait/spot/technique when they're fishing for a certain type of fish. They know what works so they stick to it. If you were to ask them to try fishing without bait, they would probably throw you off their boat. They know that that would be a waste of time and effort. They know that if they want to catch a big fish, they need to lure them in with something that they value and desire. They also know that they are going to have to work a bit to reel it in and get it in the net.
This same scenario is true of web marketing for leads/sales/profits. You shouldn't be fishing for leads without bait. Web marketing without content is fishing without bait. You are sitting in your boat, with an empty hook floating in the water in hopes that you snag a fish by luck. What's worse, you're hoping it's a big fish that's in season so you can keep it. Chances are, you won't catch anything. If you do snag one, it's likely not going to be one you "want", that fits your ideal buyer persona.
Applying The Fisherperson's Methodology
The fisherperson knows that in order to catch the type of fish they are looking for, they need to:
- use a bait that the fish will find valuable enough to go pursue.
- fish in the right spots, be it lakes, streams, the ocean, and specific areas of each of them.
- use a pole, line, hook/lure and net that can effectively bring the fish in without breaking.
- use some form of measurement to decide if the fish is a keeper, such as a scale or measuring stick, and knowledge of what's in season.
- use a live well that will keep the fish alive and well until.
Similarly, the web marketing strategist knows that in order to generate the types of leads they are looking for, they need to:
- create content that their ideal buyers find valuable enough to pursue, in the form of blog posts, ebooks, checklists, videos, etc... (bait)
- promote their content in their owned/earned channels, and places that their ideal leads hang out, such as LinkedIN, Google+, Twitter, and Google search results (right fishing spots)
- have a process to capture and follow up with their leads in a "system" of some sort without fail. This may be as simple as your email marketing system (e.g., MailChimp), or a CRM. (fishing equipment)
- have an internal way to qualify and score the leads generated to determine who to focus on. (is the fish a keeper/legal?)
- have a continued dialogue with the lead to nurture them down your funnel into a paying client. This is often done with additional content. (live well)
You Wouldn't Fish Without Bait, Don't Try Generating Leads Without Content Marketing
The moral of the story here is that fishing without bait is a waste of time and energy, much like a website without content marketing. When you're fishing, the goal you're aiming for is very clear. You want to catch a specific kind and size of fish, hopefully in quantities that reach the daily, legal limit. Therefore, you implement certain baits, tools and tactics to reach that goal. Web marketing works the same way. Step 1 is having the right bait (content offer). Without it, the other steps are pointless. You may as well be casting an empty line from your trailered boat, in your driveway...